Seeker Series, Why? Does God allow evil?

quote anselm

Why does God allow an obliteration of people in a natural disaster without seemingly a thought or concern? Why God doesn’t just remove Satan and his evil schemes that he executes in this world? If God is all-powerful (omnipotent), this task would certainly be within his power. If God is all-knowing (omniscience), he knows the evil processes Satan will instigate. If God is all-loving and completely good, God should want to protect his children from any harm that may come to them.

• Evil is at work in this world, but not in the next.

God created the world in which the difficulty of evil/sin is possible, but it was not in his design that we participate in it. Man created the problem of sin and brokenness at the first fall of Adam. Adam exercised his free will by choosing to deny our creator’s direct command and ate the forbidden fruit. (Genesis 3:6-7) Written in his book, Intellectuals don’t need God & other modern myths, Alister McGrath maintained, “How do they (we) know that there cannot be morally sufficient reasons for God permitting suffering?” Consider the possibility that to “die” from this life and go to heaven is not punishment. Philippians 1:21 reveals, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain”, therefore, gaining entrance into a heaven with overwhelming joy, happiness, and love. Do we as finite humans, with limited knowledge, have a capacity to judge if evil that has occurred is not allowed by God for sufficient reasons unknown to us? It is within boundaries of God’s known character attributes that he is all-loving. With that assurance we can assume that God is restraining evil in this world. God is inhibiting wickedness until his overall redemptive strategy is achieved. This permits all who will come to know Jesus Christ time to place their faith in him.

23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly. 24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:23–24)

One would assume that God could stop evil, but to do so would require the end of this world. No one knows “the day or hour” of the end as we are told twice in the gospel of Matthew and once in the gospel of Mark. “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (Mark 13:32) To have an all-knowing God intervene during times of great evil would diminish the reason for sending his son to bear the suffering of this life for us. There is no pain, murder, evil, hate or anything not perfect in heaven. Yes, God could make it trouble-free to gain the promised reward heaven, but at what cost? The cost was his Son, and at his suffering, the admission price was paid. To maroon his children in the precarious position of an opulent spoiled child, waiting for the great protection of a parent would lead us to be unable to freely choose God’s forgiveness and grace He provided in Jesus.

Man, a broken self-deprecating individual could not justly determine the level of pain or evil at which point God should intercede. Would murder be the precipitating evil? How many murders must occur prior to intervention? Should the count be taken into consideration, the murder of one or the murder of 100 or more? If the needless killing is of someone who has lived a long fulfilling life, then is this considered a “needless death”? Does the death of a young child hold more weight within the balance of judgment of evil? Man’s finite mind is in no position to make decisions such as these, as all life is considered sacred. If not murder, what about natural evils that are not initiated by man? If we pronounce floods, tsunamis and other natural disasters that appear to our finite minds to needlessly take life as sufficiently wrong humanity cannot rightly conclude as to what level of disaster should or should not be contained as we have no visibility to the destination of the intended purposes.

God can and does intercede against all forms and methods of evil and when doing so carries out His design for His creation. We are not God, so to second-guess when God should or should not step in places us as God’s equal. Equal footing between God and man does not increase the status of man, but serves to decrease the status of a perfect, all loving, all knowing God. By doing this, He then ceases to be God. We need God to be God; man needs God in all his impeccable glory.

• So God restrains evil in this world, what does this mean for me?

Shake your fists, yell, scream and stomp your feet at God, and plead with Him to intervene for all wickedness and earthly sufferings. God is great enough to shoulder the burden. Place your reliance for security in this life in one who was sent to bear the evil and sin of this world, Christ Jesus. If it is God’s will to stop the evil for the last time he will do so. Directing your attention to Him is to correctly place your faith and expectant optimism exactly where it should be.

“4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelations 21:4)

McGrath, A. (1993). Intellectual Barriers to Faith. In Intellectuals don’t need God & other modern myths: Building bridges to faith through apologetics. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan Publishing House.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Re 21:4, Mark 13:32). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.
The New International Version. (2011). (1 Pe 2:23–24). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Re-Blog- Simon Sinek on Leadership – TED2014 – YouTube

I don’t agree with Simon’s worldview, but I like his thoughts and his critical thinking process regarding these problems.

Watch the video and consider what Jesus taught during his ministry about leadership and serving others.

I found this video helpful.

Simon Sinek on Leadership – TED2014 – YouTube


Leadership Is A No Excuses Thing | Chris LoCurto | Leadership & Small Business

Excellent points on leadership.  We quickly place claim on a “positive” result while backpedaling away from a “poor” result.

Own the result good or bad!   Make change changes and press on…

Leadership Is A No Excuses Thing | Chris LoCurto | Leadership & Small Business.

Stereotypes- Man and his Employment

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Construction laborers, public safety workers, alligator wrestlers, business executives, rodeo clowns and customer service providers are all necessary job functions in society. These jobs all pose a significant risk, both too life and limb and to a person’s mental health. The question when considering these occupations is who takes the most risk? Risk is controlled as much as possible and mitigated to ensure safety. In addition, a mental picture or stereotype is formed when assessing known information about these positions. This is reasonable to do. We need to form mental pictures of thoughts or situations. However, when these presuppositions begin to affect our interpretation of reality problems set in. This brings us to the point. I have changed the names to protect the innocent; please welcome my friend. We shall call him, “Q”.

“Q” is a man’s man. He is a husband, father, and friend. From all outwards appearances, he is fully aware of his responsibilities and makes all arrangements required to fulfill those obligations. His wife and his children adore him and his friends respect him. “Q” is at ease when opening a car door for his beautiful wife, hugging his children or “tossing” back a beer with a pal. This man is getting it done. He is leading and providing for his family, and affording them each a positive influence by pouring himself into to them. The “thing” is, “Q” is a hairstylist.

It shouldn’t be surprising that “Q” is a hairstylist. It is an honest profession that he is very skilled at, and he works hard to improve at his craft. The shocking part should be that in the 21st century there is still the undercurrent of gender stereotypes in certain employment situations. Out of the typical male dominated occupations listed above, which if any would consider entering the arena of cutting, shaping and coloring a woman’s most outwardly exemplified expression of herself. None! Furthermore, “Q” gets paid, quite well. He is compensated to never have a bad day performing his art. He is reimbursed to provide nothing but absolute perfection with every customer transaction. He stands with nothing to hide behind at the end of a cut, color and style. It is job location directly front and center in a gladiator’s stadium, with nowhere to run. In fact, there are mirrors all around to point out any glaring mistakes or omissions committed.

Who would want to labor under such conditions? Not many would or could survive, and even if forced probably would succumb to the pressure quickly. In many employment circumstances, effects from an “off day” are mitigated. Business contracts are rechecked, new pieces of construction material can be obtained if cut incorrectly and other remedies can be found in service situations. (Alligator wrestlers well, that maybe our closest comparison. Never want to lose a limb!) To encapsulate the point, a man’s employment does not define him. His allegiants to his faith/belief system, his work ethic, and his responsibility to his family, are the defining factors of a man.

Thankfully, infrequently incorrect perceptions are drawn to what “Q” is. A defense of “Q”, to right all the wrongs in this world is not the point of this posting. “Q” is of very sharp wit, and provides his own defense quite well. Nevertheless, if required I would come to my friends protection. As Proverbs 27:17 (ESV) states, “As Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.” That is what one man does for another man.

Contemplate these points when observing anyone. Consider Jesus calling of Levi (a tax collector was despised in the first century) as a disciple. Jesus distinguished between Levi’s outward occupation and his mission of discipleship. (Luke 5:27-32 ESV) You never know what is sincerely on the heart of a person. The outward appearances could be very different to what is truly inside.

How do you define, “Made a Difference?”

Any opportunity offered to create a “difference” is a gift to be grasped.  The longer I play in the arena of customer service and field engineering those opportunities become less and less on the business side.  Many businesses appear to have a great affection for attempting to measure the “difference” or “impact” of an event.  Some these measurements are laughable at best with the rise of social media and the speed that customer perceptions can change.

On the personal side, those occasions can be self-created and hence more rewarding.  My “difference” is creating a situation where a person can achieve growth.  Whether this growth is in their thinking or in how they consider a situation, or how a small change can influence other aspects of their lives.  Accomplishing this has the two-fold benefit of positively affecting both parties doubling the effect.

The Never Ending Push to Improve the Metrics

“Push to improve metrics and the metrics will improve for a while. Teach the philosophy of a job well done and the metrics will improve forever.” (Simon Sinek, 2012)

Define the words “Strategic” and “Tactical” within the context of business situations, and then consider the quote above. Management develops a change to the “Strategic” framework of the business. The reasons for these changes have been provided. The changes can be proven sound, as the cost structure must change in order to maintain profitability. Fair enough. However, where the service engineers dwell is in the world of “Tactics”. The business framework is delineated from above, but there may be “Tactical” problems with the “Strategic” plan. Service or local customer contacts find the “Tactical” solutions to achieve management’s “Strategic” goals. This is the service engineers’ wheelhouse. They get it done. Do you see the tension? Changes to the “Strategic” framework are disseminated down to the service engineers’ level and their minds immediately start to think how to “Tactically” make the changes. Frustration starts to set in from that point forward.

Transfer these thoughts over to our spiritual lives. The magnificent part of this, the bible provides us the strategic and the tactical directives. God provided the “Strategic” framework for everything. He created all of it, so who would know better as to how it should work. When reading the bible, and a “Strategic” directive is provided as in Matthew 4:19 (NIV) “And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.” When Jesus spoke to Peter and Andrew, they did not stop consider the directive, they just did it. They followed Jesus probably not fully knowing how “Tactically” they would accomplish “fishing for Men”. Stated another way, they would not have known how to “Tactically” undertake being one of the first disciples for Jesus. Looking further in the gospel of Matthew, an argument can be constructed that all the “Tactical” solutions as to “how” Peter and Andrew should complete the daunting task of true discipleship is outlined in all of chapters five, six and seven. There should be no tension with this as any frustration with how to achieve true discipleship to Jesus is eliminated. We just have to read it and carry it out.

Improve your business philosophy of the way you engage the customer with service and sales opportunities and the metrics will improve forever.

Improve your personal philosophy of the way you engage our Lord, your relationships, family, discipleship, prayer, forgiveness to others, bible reading, and your general sense of well-being knowing your true reason for hope, and your life as a whole WILL improve for eternity.

That is a metric I want to be measured on!

It is all a gift, be sure to be thankful for it!

A Different kind of Service

“Arrogance, aggression and cleverness are the major barriers to persuasion. But so is misreading the audience.  Except for coercive persuasion, which some groups use to force their views on others, the audience controls the outcome of every argument” (Sire, 2006)

This quote from Why good arguments fail, by James W. Sire, I think carries a pivotal point to be considered when speaking with any Believer, Unbeliever or Customer.  Consider this not just in a faith or business conversation context, but any conversation that involves making your point, a getting that point across clearly.

Many times the message is “lost in translation”.

In business, we speak in technical terms and the customer listens in a context in whatever they may be feeling that day.  It could be technical (dealing with system issues), personal (home life not going well today), frustration (every customer has been a problem), or a business context, (volumes are down, hence profits are down, we need better marketing).  This is an endless list.

In faith-based conversations, these mental blocks are the same but they could be more deeply rooted.  Any presuppositions about the faith or church the receiver are probably completely unknown to the other party.  Just as it is in a business context, it could be technical (the car would not start this morning), personal (home life not going well today), and frustration (why can’t I make any progress on my personal goals?)

You could be literally walking a conversational “mine-field” at this point and never know it.  The point being that the receiver of your message could have substantial mental blocks stopping them from hearing your message or idea.

How can we deal with this?

  • Read your customer/audience!
  • Always speak with a servant’s heart! You want to serve the other person with love and respect!

Just as the quote above states, “the audience controls the outcome”.  This is the same if you are speaking in regards to a business situation, a technical system situation, or discussing the life saving grace of Jesus.

As the scripture states in, 1 Corinthians 12:5 (NIV) “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord.”   Always take a few moments to consider how to best frame the conversation you’re going to have, and remove any potential blocks they may have, thus increasing the percentage for a positive outcome.

The perfect up-sell?

“Would you like Fries with that?”

Who remembers that? Probably every one of us. The perfect up-sell. It is a classic line that has now ingrained so far into our minds that who can imagine a burger without fries?

For those of us who frequent “a major coffee chain that shall remain nameless”, I have noticed that the highly trained barista’s have moved pass this line. Now, the up-sell comment is much more presumptuous. In the drive thru they repeat back your coffee order, and then say, “And what pastries will you be having this morning?”
Huh? I wanted a pastry? How do they know they know I love pastries? Well, now that you mention it, a tasty pastry does sound good…
Without even missing a beat, the barista has used the power of suggestion to entice a greater purchase. The $4.50 purchase has just increased to $7.00. Hello profit!

Why can’t service engineers do that?
After a service call is complete, are we asking the customer, “Is there anything else you need?” “Is everything else running ok?” Alternatively, how about, “Are there any other problems with any other equipment here at the site that I can help with?”

This is opportunity to up-sell, and not in the cheesy way, “insert major coffee chain name here” does it. We can ask the good questions, to genuinely assist the customer with their equipment. If we can engage the customer like this, with semi-regularity, this can open up a world a positive interaction with the customer.

Increased service revenue will naturally fall out of the sky when a customer is engaged in this way.
Even if, the “brick of a customer purchase order” does not hit you in the head, other opportunities might. The opportunities to increase customer trust or an equipment sales opportunity may arise.

At the very least if you do this the other person within the exchange will be left with a positive feeling that someone, on this day, cared enough to ask how they were doing and if they needed any help. That, my friends, could be the key to something much greater then all of this.